School Days: Minnesota Girl Traps Her First Weasel

2 School Days

Autumn Kietzman, 8, Minnesota

A snowstorm and an ermine made for
a memorable day on the trapline with her father


My name is Autumn Kietzman, and I am 8 years old. I have been helping my dad trap on his trapline since I could barely walk. My little sister goes with Dad and me when we check traps too, but on the day this story happened two years ago, she was still a baby, so it was just me and Dad on this trip.

One winter day, my dad and I set out some traps. We went to a big brush pile near a bog with lots of tall grass and cattails. I asked Dad if I could choose the spot where we would set the ermine box trap we were putting there. I picked a spot that looked good to me that was tucked back into the brush pile. It was a very cold day. But I had a good time, and that is what mattered.

Dad set the trap in the box with some deer scraps and closed it, and we went on to the rest of the line. That night, it snowed, and Dad said that might mean good luck for our traps that day.

When we came to the brush pile, my dad looked at the inside of the trap box that my trap was in. He said there was something in there.

At first, when Dad opened the box, I thought he was kidding about catching something. All I could see was a lot of snow in the box from the storm. I didn’t see anything else. But then I saw the black tip of the tail, and I knew Dad was right. I was so happy to have caught my very first ermine!

Dad sent the fur to the tannery, and now I have an ermine skin in my room. I love checking traps with my dad. We catch ermine, mink, muskrats, raccoons, beavers, foxes and bobcats, but my favorite thing to catch is ermine because they are so pretty.

“School Days” is sponsored by Duke Traps and the Wisconsin Trappers Association. Winners receive six traps, a Wisconsin Cooperative Trapper Education video, an NTA handbook and a membership to their state’s trappers association. To be considered, send a 300- to 500-word story and photo of the trapper to School Days, Trapper & Predator Caller, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990; or email the story and photo to Please make sure to include the trapper’s name, age and address.


This column appeared in the February 2014 issue of Trapper & Predator Caller.

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